Chinese Beef Soup Recipe From Scratch!

by Ella

Chinese Beef Soup stands as a comforting and flavorful dish deeply rooted in culinary traditions. Its rich broth, tender beef, and aromatic spices make it a staple in Chinese households and a favorite in restaurants worldwide. In this detailed guide, we will explore the steps and nuances involved in creating a delicious Chinese Beef Soup that captures the essence of this beloved culinary classic.

Making Flavorful Chinese Beef Soup

Selecting the Right Beef Cuts: Choosing the right beef cuts is crucial for achieving the desired tenderness and flavor in your soup. Common choices include brisket, flank, or sirloin, each offering its unique texture and taste. Take the time to discuss your preferences with your local butcher, ensuring you get the ideal cut for your Chinese Beef Soup.


Crafting a Flavorful Broth: The heart of any good soup is its broth. For Chinese Beef Soup, a rich and savory broth is achieved through a combination of slow simmering, aromatic vegetables, and carefully selected spices. Consider using a mix of beef bones and meat for depth, adding ginger, garlic, and green onions for fragrance, and infusing flavors with star anise, cloves, and Chinese cinnamon.


Aromatics and Seasonings: Aromatics and seasonings play a crucial role in elevating the flavors of Chinese Beef Soup. The holy trinity of Chinese cuisine – ginger, garlic, and green onions – adds depth and aroma. Soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and a hint of sugar contribute to the harmonious blend of sweet, salty, and savory notes that define the dish. Adjust the quantities to suit your taste preferences.


Chinese Beef Soup

Making Chinese Beef Soup is a delightful culinary adventure that results in a flavorful and comforting dish. Here's a simple recipe to guide you through the process:
Yield: 4
Cost: $6


  • 1 pound beef (brisket, flank, or sirloin), thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ quarts water
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch ginger, sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • Sesame oil for drizzling (optional)


Prepare the Beef:

  • Trim excess fat from the beef and cut it into thin slices.
  • Marinate the beef with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and sugar. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes.

Create the Broth:

  • In a large pot, bring 1 ½ quarts of water to a boil.
  • Add beef bones or beef shank to enhance the broth's flavor. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Infuse Aromatics and Spices:

  • Add sliced onions, minced garlic, ginger, green onions, star anise, cloves, and the cinnamon stick to the pot.
  • Continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes to infuse the broth with aromatic flavors.

Season the Broth:

  • Season the broth with soy sauce, salt, and white pepper. Adjust according to your taste preferences.
  • Taste the broth periodically and make adjustments as needed.

Cook the Beef:

  • Strain the broth to remove solid ingredients, leaving a clear and flavorful liquid.
  • Bring the strained broth back to a simmer and add the marinated beef slices.
  • Cook the beef for 2-3 minutes or until it is tender and cooked through.

Serve and Enjoy:

Ladle the hot soup into bowls.


Garnish with chopped green onions and, if desired, fresh cilantro.

Optionally, drizzle with a small amount of sesame oil for added depth.

Serve your Chinese Beef Soup with steamed rice, noodles, or alongside your favorite Chinese side dishes.

Tips for Perfecting Your Chinese Beef Soup:

To elevate your Chinese Beef Soup to perfection, consider the following tips:

Use Fresh Ingredients: Opt for fresh and high-quality beef, vegetables, and spices to enhance the overall flavor of the soup.

Adjust Seasoning Carefully: Chinese cuisine thrives on balance. Taste your broth throughout the cooking process and adjust the seasoning gradually to achieve the perfect harmony of flavors.

Experiment with Spices: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different Chinese spices to find the combination that suits your taste preferences. Some variations include Sichuan peppercorns for a hint of numbing spice or dried tangerine peel for citrusy notes.

Customize with Vegetables: While the classic Chinese Beef Soup often features minimal vegetables, feel free to add bok choy, mushrooms, or other greens to enhance the nutritional value and add a pop of color.

Variations to Explore:

While the basic recipe provides a classic and delicious Chinese Beef Soup, you can explore various regional and personal variations to suit your taste. Here are a few ideas:

Spicy Sichuan Style: Add Sichuan peppercorns and dried red chili peppers to the broth for a numbing and spicy kick.

Tomato Beef Soup: Introduce tomato chunks or tomato paste to the broth for a tangy and refreshing twist.

Noodle Soup: Cook Chinese egg noodles separately and ladle the beef soup over them for a heartier meal.

Vegetable Medley: Include a mix of your favorite vegetables such as bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, or baby corn.

Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup: Serve the beef slices and broth over hand-pulled noodles, garnished with fresh cilantro and green onions.

Clear Broth Version: For a lighter version, skip the soy sauce and use a clear beef broth with minimal seasoning. This allows the natural flavors of the beef and aromatics to shine.

Pairing Chinese Beef Soup with Accompaniments:

Completing your Chinese Beef Soup experience involves selecting the perfect accompaniments. Here are some suggestions:

Steamed White Rice: Serve your Chinese Beef Soup over a bed of steamed white rice for a hearty and fulfilling meal.

Noodles: Explore the world of Chinese noodles – from egg noodles to rice noodles – and choose the variety that complements your beef soup.

Dumplings: Steamed or pan-fried dumplings make for a delightful side dish that pairs well with the savory flavors of the soup.

Chili Oil and Hoisin Sauce: Offer condiments like chili oil and hoisin sauce on the side for those who enjoy an extra kick or a touch of sweetness.


In conclusion, making Chinese Beef Soup is a culinary journey that invites you to explore the rich and diverse flavors of Chinese cuisine. With attention to detail, the right ingredients, and a willingness to experiment, you can create a bowl of comforting soup that reflects the essence of this traditional dish.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook eager to try your hand at Chinese cooking, the art of making Chinese Beef Soup is a rewarding endeavor. So, gather your ingredients, embrace the aromatic symphony of Chinese spices, and savor the warmth of a bowl of homemade Chinese Beef Soup crafted with care and culinary passion.



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